Tag Archive for character

20 Family Rules for Social Media…Straight from God!

Social Media tools have grown faster than I can keep up.  I cannot come close to keeping up with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest while throwing a few pics out on Snapchat. I still have trouble texting. Even more confusing, I often wonder why people choose to post Social media on Smartphonewhat they post. I’m not the only one in this conundrum though. ABC reported that a third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word “Facebook” according to Divorce Online. ABC also reported that, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys said social networking in divorce proceedings was on the rise (Click here for the report). A Clinical Report from the American Academy of Pediatrics entitled The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families reported that social media can help children through socialization, communication, enhanced learning opportunities, and accessing health information. At the same time, children also risk becoming the recipient of cyberbullying, sexting, Facebook depression, and the influence of advertisers on social media sites. Obviously, we need some family rules to help monitor our family members’ use of social media. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends several ideas, like no more than 2 hours per day of screen time for children and other beneficial ideas at this AAP site. Visit them for information to help you manage social media in your family. Although you will find invaluable information on the use of social media on the internet (ironically), I thought it might be interesting to see if God has anything to say about social media. So, here are twenty proverbs that answer some questions and clarify important principles for families using social media. Proverbs…no explanations, just the proverb presented for you to consider and apply to your use of social media.


How much does a wise person share on social media?

  • The wise don’t make a show off their knowledge, but fools broadcast their foolishness—Proverbs 12:23 (NLT).
  • A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent—Proverbs 17:27-28 (NLT).
  • Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut—Proverbs 10:19 (NLT).


Consider the power of the words we use and the statements we make on social media:

  • With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous—Proverbs 11:9 (NLT).
  • The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing—Proverbs 12:18 (NIV).
  • Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything—Proverbs 13:3 (NLT).
  • Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones—Proverbs 16:24 (NIV).
  • As sure as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger—Proverbs 25:23 (NLT).


What are the best kinds of words to use on social media?

  • Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them—Ephesians 4:29 (NLT).
  • Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that no one can criticize you—Philippians 2:14-15a (NLT).


What about arguing and complaining on social media?

  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly—Proverbs 15:1-2 (NIV).
  • A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends—Proverbs 16:28 (NIV).
  • Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out—Proverbs 17:14 (NIV).
  • An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars—Proverbs 18:19 (NLT).
  • When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret. Others will accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation—Proverbs 25:9-10 (NLT).


The call to use discernment when posting, or reading, social media:

  • Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness—Proverbs 13:16 (NLT).
  • The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps—Proverbs 14:15 (NIV).
  • A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash—Proverbs 15:14 (NLT).
  • Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them—Proverbs 29:20 (NIV).


Finally, since “social networking is on the rise in divorce cases,” remember:

  • The lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword—Proverbs 5:3-4 (NIV).


What other proverbs do you think apply to the use of social media?

A Dozen Lessons Our Children Need to Learn

Family shepherds want to teach their children important life lessons. Here are 12 lessons I believe important.
  • The greatest pleasures in life are earned through hard work and patience.
  • Relationships require effort, kindness, patience, and forgiveness.
  • It is alright to struggle, experience frustration, and even fail. In fact, failure is the seed of success.
  • Treat others as you would have them treat you…even if they do not treat you that way.
  • Success is about effort and perseverance, not performance and achievement.
  • Politeness goes a long way…in other words, “you catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar.”
  • The world is full of choices. Don’t let those choices overwhelm you. Instead, learn to be content with the basic necessities…anything more is a gift.
  • Practice generosity and gratitude every day.
  • If you are not happy where you are, move!
  • You will encounter situations in your life and the world that you will not like. You can complain, in which case nothing will get any better; or, you can work to make your life better. Work to make your life better! 
  • Freedom comes to the person who acts responsibly.
  • You can not clean up the world’s problems until you learn to clean up your room.
What lessons would you add to this list?

My Child Is So Immature!

Have you ever looked at your children and wondered what they were thinking. They seem to do the strangest things and do so without even thinking. Sometimes they even act like two-year-olds (although the other day my daughter said I was acting like a 5-year-old…maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). You may have even said to yourself, “They are so immature!” I have; and, I have heard many other parents say similar things. In my more rational moments, I respond to that statement with one word…GOOD! Yes, good! Children are supposed to be immature…they are, after all, children. They are learning and growing. Our job, as parents, is to help them become more mature. Character is one important area of maturity that we help them develop. When our children develop positive character they become trustworthy and reliable, which fosters better social relationships. Children with positive character also work hard, learn from mistakes, persevere, and experience more success. How can you help your children develop the character that you can be proud of? Here are a few things you can do to help your children develop a strong and positive character.
     ·         Become actively involved in your children’s character development. If you do not instill positive character traits into your children, someone else will. If you do not model and teach your children the character traits you value, they will learn the character traits modeled through the media, their peers, or from others in the community.

·         Notice and acknowledge acts of kindness. When your children do something nice, acknowledge it. When another child or a neighbor does something nice, notice it. Doing so informs your children that you value kindness. While you are at it, model kindness in your interactions with your children and with others you meet throughout the day. Children learn more from our actions than our lectures and instructions. Let them see you put kindness into action toward family, friends, strangers, and even those you “are not particularly fond of.”

·         Encourage your children to include others. Teach them to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Reinforce the idea that love reaches out to others, regardless of skin color, clothing choices, interests, beliefs, music preference, grade achievement, or any other marker we use to establish our “groups.” Let your children know they can disagree with someone and still treat them with kindness, respect, and gratitude. Practice this in your own life as well.

·         Promote responsibility in your children. Involve them in “running the household” by giving them household chores to complete. Hold them responsible for their decisions. Teach them to finish what they start.

·         Learn to give together. Talk about various charitable organizations and the work they do. Pick one or two organizations your children seem interested in and donate your time, energy, or finances to those organizations. You may volunteer for the organization or raise money for them. I especially like the idea of volunteering. Volunteering allows your children to get to know the people they help. It also teaches them that, in spite of circumstances, the people they help are people with strengths and weaknesses just like you and me. 

·         Watch the TV shows your children like. Listen to the music they like. Play the video games they like to play. Do all three of these activities with them. Use the TV characters, the music lyrics, and the video game concepts as opportunities to learn about their interests and how they think. These “media adventures” provide excellent opportunities to discuss the character of the person on the TV show, the message of the song lyrics, or the goals of the video game. Enter these conversations from a point of curiosity, not lecture, and your children may surprise you with the character they reveal through their mature answers.
I’m sure you have more ideas to help your children develop than the six ideas listed above. How do you help your children develop character? What activities do you and your children share in an effort to develop character? Let us know in the comment section below. Your comments can help us all grow children of strong, positive character.

Help! My Teen Lies to Me!

Yes, it is true. Teens lie. Teens argue. Teens often want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to be given the freedom of independence while relying on their parents’ supportive cash for gas money and money to go out with friends. It is a very confusing time—for teens and parents. As parents, we want what is best for our teens. We hope they will accept the wisdom of our experience as they navigate the transition into adulthood. Unfortunately, they do not always heed our words…at least not to our faces. So, when it comes to dealing with teens, here are a couple helpful ideas.
The most common reason teens give for not telling the truth or for withholding the truth from parents is to “protect my relationship with my parents.” In other words, they fear that the truth will cause distance in the parent-child relationship. They do not want to hurt us. Some parents believe that being more permissive will result in more truth-telling. It does not. Teens who have permissive parents actually lie more! They believe that their permissive parent really does not care if they engage in various behaviors and will not do anything in response anyway, so why tell? Why hurt their feelings? Just don’t mention it…or, if forced to, lie.
Families with the least amount of deception, on the other hand, have clear, concise rules accompanied by reasonable and consistent consequences. Teens in these families know the rules and the consequences. Families that experience the least deception also have one more ingredient: parents who listen and make sure their teen feels heard before offering small concessions and compromises. “Wait…what? Did you say concessions and compromises? But I am the parent…my rules go in this house!” Remember, our teens are becoming adults. They have to learn how to manage their own behavior. As we honor them with our listening ears and show them the grace of small compromises and concessions, they grow in their ability to recognize potential consequences and make wise decisions independently. A little bit of flexibility will go a long way in decreasing teen deception and increasing teen maturity. So, teens who lie the least have parents who set clear rules, consistently enforce those rules, and also find opportunities to make some compromises with their maturing teen.
Using this style of parenting does have some side effects (stated in the soothing voice of one announcing medication side effects on various TV commercials). Having clear rules that are consistently enforced may result in increased arguing and complaining. In fact, those families with the least amount of deception often had a higher rate of arguing and complaining. That is great! No really, it is great. A moderate amount of arguing between parent and teens (emphasize the word moderate) results in better adjustment than no arguing or frequent arguing. Arguing allows the teen to see their parent in a new light, to hear the argument for the rules clearly articulated and “reasoned out.” In the teens’ effort to become independent and take on “their own values,” they can listen to their parents articulate the rules they have grown up with before internalizing them as their own. In a sense, the teen who complains and argues is saying, “I know you have always kept this rule; but now I want to know why. Do you really believe it? What makes it such a good rule?” In the midst of this argument, teens assert their growing independence while exploring the values they have grown up with.
One last secret (don’t tell your teens). I often meet with parents who are at their wit’s end because they feel like their teen is not listening. I listen as they tell me what they have told their teen. I empathize with their frustration as they explain that their teen does not take their words of wisdom into account. Then I meet with the teen. In the midst of our discussion, their teen will often tell me exactly what their parents have said…and they say it as though it is their own idea. They have heard it. They even believe it; and, they are in the process of making it their own. They just can’t tell their parents about this and carve out their own independence at the same time. So, keep on listening. Keep on patiently enforcing the rules. Keep on discussing the rational of the rules and struggling to make appropriate concessions. Trust that your teen hears you. They are listening. And, hold on for the ride of your life on the teenage roller coaster. Your work will pay off…when the ride ends and your teen becomes an adult!

Family Christmas Tree Values

We decorated our Christmas tree last week. I love our family time decorating the tree. We put on Christmas music while we work together decorating the tree, sipping hot chocolate, and joking around. I always joke about not getting a Christmas tree, but I love the Christmas tree. I hope that, in the long run, decorating our Christmas tree represents a microcosm of our family’s actually character. I hope that decorating the Christmas tree ultimately reflects our family values. What are the values and character traits we strive for in our family? Let me see…
C a r e,
H o n o r,
R e s p e c t,
I n t e r a c t  with…
S h o w  s u p p o r t  for…
T e a c h   e a c h   t o   l o v e…
M a k e   g r e a t   m u s i c   w i t h…
A c c e p t    a n d    a c c o m m o d a t e…
S h a r e   a c t s   o f   g r a c e  w i t h…
Enjoy Christmas tree decorating and all of your other family activities this holiday season. While you do, remember to let your actions and interactions reflect your family values.

Parents: Sowing & Reaping

“You reap what you sow.” I was thinking about this ancient saying the other day. We often tell our children to be careful what they sow because it will come back around to them in the reaping. In other words, there are natural consequences to our actions—a good lesson for our children to learn. But, parents can learn from this saying as well, especially in regards to how we treat our children. Think about it, we “reap what we sow.” Our children pick up everything we do and say. Worse yet, they repeat everything we say and do…good or bad. I have noticed that children not only repeat what their parents say or do, but they do so with little to no restraint. For instance, an adult may limit their swearing to times when they are very angry. But their preschooler hears that curse word and repeats it indiscriminately, without restraint, at the worst times, in the most inopportune moment. On the positive side, imagine a child watching you engage in acts of kindness or generosity and then practicing those virtues with abandon. Or picture your child overhearing you energetically speaking highly of others and doing the same. “You reap what you sow.”
I read a Jewish folktale in which a father kicks the grandfather out of their home. The grandfather roams the streets as a homeless beggar. One cold night, he sees his grandson playing in the yard. He explains who he is and asks for a blanket. The grandson runs into the house and asks his father for a blanket to give the old man. His father sends him to the attic to get one. When the grandson does not quickly return, his father goes in search of him and finds him cutting a blanket in half. “Why are you doing?” his father asks. “I am cutting the blanket in half, Father, so that I can give half to my grandfather. I am going to keep the other half for you. When you grow old and go out to beg in the cold, I’ll give you this part of the blanket to keep you warm,” the son replied. The father was stunned…but he realized that he was reaping what he had sown. It’s a “cat’s in the cradle” sort of thing.
The moral of the story: parents reap what they sow.  How do you want your children to “turn out”? How do you want them to behave? What character do you want them to develop? Begin to model that character today because your children are watching, learning, copying, and practicing…and we will “reap what we sow.”

One Ingredient of Happy Children

A research team at the University of British Columbia published a study involving toddlers and generosity. In this study, each toddler received treats (like Goldfish crackers). A few minutes later, one group of toddlers was asked to give one of their treats to a puppet. Another group was given an extra treat to share with the puppet. The study revealed that the toddlers who shared their own treat with the puppet displayed greater happiness than the toddlers who were given a treat to share. In other words, the toddlers who made a personal sacrifice exhibited greater happiness than those who did not. The toddlers found the generosity of personal sacrifice emotionally rewarding. One author of the study said, “Forfeiting their own valuable resources for the benefit of others makes them happier than giving away just any treat.”


Two thoughts came to my mind when I read a summary of this study. One, Jesus said that unless we become like little children, we will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. This study reveals an important lesson we can learn from children–it is better to give than receive. And, giving that includes some level of personal sacrifice elicits happiness. Generosity in the family contributes to joy. Families that practice sacrificial generosity will reap the reward of intimacy. Individual members of the generous family feel more significant because of their opportunity to impact others; more connected because they share something that is personally meaningful; and happier because (as this study suggests) sacrificial giving produces happiness…which brings me to my second thought about this study.


We, as parents, contribute to our children’s happiness when we encourage them to give to others…especially if it means they have to make some personal sacrifice. Sometimes we have trouble watching our children make a personal sacrifice. We hate to see them “lose something” they truly enjoy or lack something they really like having. So, we “protect” them from that feeling by giving them the “thing” to give away. Then, it is no skin off their nose. They do not have to make the sacrifice. We walk away feeling better because we do not have to see our children struggle with personal sacrifice. However, this study suggests that when we take away their opportunity to make a personal sacrifice, we rob them of happiness. We deprive them of the complete happiness that comes from making a generous personal sacrifice for another person. On the other hand, when we force them to give to others, we rob them of the joyous reward they might receive from freely offering a gift…and we plant seeds of resentment. But, when we model personal sacrifice in our giving…when we encourage them to give generously…when we present opportunities for sacrificial giving…we increase the opportunity for our children’s happiness.


What are some ways you can model personal sacrifice in giving? In what areas might you encourage your children to give generously?

My Family is Killing Me

My family is killing me. I know that may sound a bit extreme, even over the top; but, it is true. Every time I turn around they want to end some part of my life. I believe it is all part of a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top. God Himself is in on it. They have all joined forces to conspire against me…to make me a better person, to force me to grow more mature in character, to become godly, even Christ-like. Yes, my family is killing me…and, well, it’s a good thing. I hate to admit it, but I tend to be impatient at times. If you do not believe me, take a ride in rush hour traffic with me. I don’t understand rush hour traffic. It makes no sense. I have no patience for it. I hate rush hour traffic. Anyway, I am impatient. Fortunately, my family is killing my impatience. They have located the tumor of impatience and, with surgical precision, they are cutting it out of my life. In traffic they make comments like, “Gee Dad, we’re behind a big, slow truck…your favorite thing.” We all smile. Well, they smile and I grit my teeth; but, it helps me stay calm…and patient. After all, I want to model patience for my children. They also help me remain patient when I feel the urge to shoot my computer or when I mumble a desire to avoid the long line for everyone’s favorite ride in the amusement park. Thanks to my family, impatience is dying a slow, sometimes agonizing death. While impatience dies, my family is painstakingly grafting in patience to fill the emptiness left behind. Patience…what a nice change.
My family is also killing my need for control. You may find this hard to believe, but controlling teenage daughters is like herding cats. They want their own lives. They have friends they want to hang out with and activities that seem to call their names. I cannot control their interests. I cannot control their thoughts. I cannot control what they do when they are out with friends. I can only trust them. As much as parents like to believe we have control over our family, we cannot make our maturing children do the right thing. We have little control over their behavior when they leave our presence to go out with friends. Don’t get me wrong…I believe in discipline. And, I do have wonderful daughters…I am truly blessed. But, truth be told, as children grow into teens and young adults, parents have less and less control over their lives. We can discuss behaviors, point out consequences of various choices, and encourage appropriate behaviors; but, we cannot control their thoughts and actions. We have to give up control—let it die. We have to learn to trust that they will remember what we have taught them through the elementary years. We have to trust their decision-making skills and their ability to learn from their experience. We have to trust them…and sometimes it is killing me. See what I mean? My family is killing me.
I don’t know about you, but I like to be right. No, I love to be right. In fact, I have argued over the dumbest things simple because I want to be right…and sometimes (only sometimes) I was. Sometimes I even continue to argue, trying to prove myself right, even after I realized I was wrong, very wrong. I know it doesn’t make sense; but really, come on, you know what I mean. We love to be right. However, my family is slowly killing off my need to be right. They are teaching me that some things just don’t matter. I’m also learning that they really do know things I do not know…like what color the living room is painted or how the Federal Reserve works or…oh, there are so many things they know that I do not know. So, I’m learning to listen carefully, completely, and with the intent to understand before I offer my “right answer.” Many times I don’t even have to offer “my right answer.” I just need to listen. I don’t have to be right every time. Other people can be right. In fact, other people are often right! And, I can be wrong…and it’s killing me.
One more thing. We can all be somewhat self-centered at times. I know I can. I want that last piece of pie. I like to sit in a particular chair in the living room. After all, it’s my house and my chair. Oops, sorry family…it is our house and our chair. We are a family…and, my family is killing my self-centered me. They are helping me learn to use words like “our” and “we” instead of “mine” and “me.” Interestingly, I find myself becoming happier as my self-centeredness dies. I have discovered that I experience greater joy when I help my family rather than help myself, when I compromise rather than demand my way, when I listen to their needs rather than push my agenda. Truly, I have never had more excitement and joy than when I watch a family member achieve a personal dream and excitedly talk about it. Yes, my family is killing my self-centeredness and replacing it with a good dose of unselfish benevolence.
So, my little secret is out. There is a conspiracy afoot. Yes, my family is killing me…and, well, I am glad! It is a good thing to let some character traits die and replace them with something better. So, go ahead family. Give it your best shot. Cut out my immature character traits and graft in some new improved traits like patience, trust, understanding, and unselfish benevolence. Aye, if I get enough new and improved traits grafted in, I will be like the six million dollar man….”We can rebuild him. We can make him better than he was before. Better…stronger…faster….” Oops, sorry about that. I got carried away. It’s all part of the conspiracy!

Give Your Child the Gift of a Lifetime

One of the best gifts we can give our children is the ability to bounce back from failure, to overcome adversity, and to remain persistent in the face of disappointment. In a word, giving the gift of resiliency can impact a child’s life forever! What does a child need to develop resiliency? Here are some ideas.
     ·         Resiliency begins with close family ties. Resilient children feel secure in their family relationships. They feel accepted and valued by their family. Even though they may express some interests different than their family, they know that family members accept them and cherish them. Take time for your children. Learn about their interests and abilities. Show an interest in what they think and do.

·         Resilient children develop a sense of competence. Parents can help their children develop a sense of competence by accepting their strengths and giving them opportunities to develop those strengths. If they like music, give them opportunities to play or sing. If they like sports, get them involved in athletic activities. If they like to cook or draw or do scientific experiments, seek out opportunities for them to meet people with similar interests and become involved in related activities. Keep these activities fun. Do not push them beyond their desire. Let them guide the intensity of their involvement.

·         Resilient children have a healthy self-confidence. Interestingly, confidence grows when we overcome obstacles and persevere in spite of difficulties and disappointments. Confidence grows when we learn to view adversity, struggle, and even failure as information about how to improve. Allow your child to experience disappointments and setbacks. Encourage them in their struggle to overcome those setbacks. Express confidence in their abilities to do so. Encourage their effort and point out specific areas in which you see improvement.

·         Resilient children develop a strong moral character. They learn right from wrong and recognize the consequences of both. They develop compassion for others and practice kindness toward others. Resilient children learn that a life of honesty and integrity is not always easy, but always best. When your child does something wrong, do not bail them out. Allow them to suffer the consequences of their misbehavior. Trust that they can and will learn from those consequences to behave better in the future.

·         Resilient children know that they make a unique and needed contribution to the world around them. God has endowed each child with a unique purpose. It may or may not be a visible to others; but, it is a vital purpose nonetheless. You can help your children discover their purpose in several ways. Provide opportunities to serve others. Help your children understand that many people in the world struggle to obtain basic life necessities. Provide opportunities to participate in volunteer work. Provide opportunities for your children to contribute to maintaining your home. All of these activities and more can help a child learn that they make an important contribution to our world.

·         Resilient children cope effectively with stress. They learn to view challenges as opportunities for growth. Children learn effective coping skills by watching their parents; so, learn to practice and model good coping skills yourself. You can not only model effective coping skills, but you can coach your child in practicing those skills as well. Childhood and adolescence are filled with opportunities to learn coping skills.
Resilient children bounce back from failure, overcome adversity, and remain persistent in the face of disappointment. They thrive, even in the midst of difficulties. The most important ingredient in helping your child develop resiliency is you! Your active presence in their life, your loving affection, your healthy modeling, and your unconditional acceptance will give your children the wonderful gift of resiliency!

Building Trust in Family Relationships

Have you ever wondered how to build trust in your family relationships? The Gottman Institute suggests five ways to build trust with your spouse. I believe those same five suggestions can build trust within your family. I have to warn you though…these suggestions appear small, even insignificant on the surface. They do not call for any flourishing gesture or dramatic, flamboyant action that suddenly creates a deep bond of trust between family members. There is no magic pill for building trust. No, these suggestions are subtle, but powerful, actions and attitudes that, when practiced daily, have a profound impact on trust in a family. Let me share each suggestion along with a brief explanation.
     ·         Make trustworthiness a priority in your relationship. As with all relationship building principles, start with yourself. Make it a priority to become a trustworthy person, a person others can trust. Develop your reputation as a person of honesty, integrity, and reliability. Follow through on your promises. Make your word “as good as gold.” Remain reliable in your actions and your affections. Live a lifestyle that is consistent with your honest speech. To develop a trusting relationship, become a trustworthy person.

·         Act to maximize each of your family members’ well-being. Do not look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of your spouse and family. Be considerate of their needs and desires. Look to increase their sense of security in relationship to you. Spend time with them. Discover their interests and create opportunities for them to grow in those areas of interest. Encourage their strengths. Become their Michelangelo—the person who brings out their best and encourages them to grow stronger in their “true self” every day.

·         Realize that trust is built and strengthened by small positive moments. You do not have to create the big, dramatic event to build trust or precious memories. The small, enjoyable, and positive moments build the greatest memories and the most enduring trust. Share little adventures. Play together. Show empathy. Learn things together. Share meals. Laugh together. Go for walks. When the negative emotions associated with disagreements and minor conflicts arise, you will have built a foundation that allows you to tune into the other person and share yourself. As you share yourself during conflict and then resolve conflict, trust grows exponentially.

·         Avoid negative comparisons. Comparisons contaminate trusting relationships. They cause trust to decay, create doubt about my value in the other person’s eyes, and diminish my sense of being accepted unconditionally. Comparisons create competition, bitterness, and resentment. Instead of comparing family members, practice unconditional acceptance. Each person has their own unique personality, strengths, and interests. Accept each person’s uniqueness, their own “bent.” Acknowledge that uniqueness and discover how those unique attributes contribute to their happiness, strengthen your family, and supplies a needed resource to those around them.

·         Cherish each of your family members’ positive qualities. Actively seek out the positive qualities and characteristics that you admire in your family members. Acknowledge those positive traits. Even when family members do things that you find irritating, step back and look for the positive aspect of that behavior or action. Then, take time to acknowledge that positive quality before discussing ways you can both work to reduce the irritation. Acknowledge positive attributes in each family member every day. Nurture a daily practice of gratitude for everything your family members provide and offer to you, to your relationship, and to your family. Keep your focus on what you admire in your family.
Five suggestions for building trust in family relationships. Nothing dramatic or hard-core, just small actions and words that, when practiced daily, result in growing trust.
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